A FASCINATING INSIGHT INTO WHY THE REAL ESTATE MARKET HIT ALL TIME HIGHS DURING A PANDEMIC

On the heels of the busiest, most unexpected December in our Board’s history and half a year of the market out-performing all expectations during COVID-19, we turned to one of the most in-demand, economists in our province for insight for you to share with your clients.

We were fortunate to get exclusive, in-depth market intelligence – specific to our Fraser Valley region – from BCREA’s Brendon Ogmundson, who as you can imagine is currently busier than a snow-making machine at local mountains due to 2020’s astounding market numbers.

He details: What happened in Fraser Valley’s market last year, and answers the million-dollar question, can it sustain in 2021?

This is part one of two with the second installment coming in next week’s NewsReal. First, we look back at a year like no other and next week, we look at what’s ahead.

FVREB Communications in conversation with Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA Chief Economist:

Q: How would you describe Fraser Valley’s real estate market in 2020? Walk us through what happened starting from what looked like a decent start of the year…?

After two years of demand being stifled by various government policies – principally the B-20 stress test – and new taxes on housing, the Fraser Valley market was set to continue to recover and record an average, typical year. However, as members know, that return to normal was swiftly upended by a worldwide pandemic that threw a blanket of uncertainty over the entire global economy.

With the industry and society in lockdown during the spring months, the housing market slowed dramatically. Sales in the early spring fell to unprecedented lows and it was anticipated that sales would remain below normal through the summer months and possibly beyond. No one knew.

Then the unexpected happened.  Home sales in the Fraser Valley began to climb in the early summer, eventually setting or nearly setting monthly sales records through the fall and winter.

By year’s end, in the midst of a global pandemic, with BC facing a jump in the unemployment rate to a 30-year high, with borders closed, and with immigration halted, sales in the Fraser Valley finished the year up over 28 per cent while benchmark home prices were up over 13 per cent.

“The housing market in 2020 was nothing short of remarkable.”

Q: No one knows BC’s economy and the housing market like you, how unusual was this post-lockdown response?

The performance of the housing market in 2020 was nothing short of remarkable. The COVID-19 recession battered many sectors of BC’s economy, but looking at the housing market, it would be difficult to tell that there was a recession at all.

In a typical recession, housing sales decline as job losses and heightened uncertainty prompt potential buyers to pull back from the market. At the same time, the supply of listings accumulates as some households are forced to sell due to rising unemployment and falling incomes. The COVID-19 recession, however, has been anything but typical. Instead, this recession has seen a remarkably swift rebound in home sales and prices, not only to pre-COVID-19 levels but to historic highs.

Hindsight is indeed 2020 when it comes to 2020

Q: Did the rebound surprise even you?

A: The speed and strength of the recovery was absolutely surprising, but with the benefit of hindsight we can see clear factors that propelled the market forward.

First, the real estate industry did an excellent job in ensuring that transactions could continue without undue risk to the public. Secondly, the impact of the COVID-19 recession on the provincial labour market was not equal across sectors. Most job losses afflicted low wage sectors of the economy, like front-line service sector jobs, while employment in above-average wage sectors that tend to drive the ownership market has risen about 5 per cent above pre-COVID-19 levels.

Most importantly, a swift and overwhelming policy reponse from the Bank of Canada pushed mortgage rates to new record lows.  All of those factors, along with a surge of pent-up demand after the initial crisis phase of the pandemic, meant that demand for housing returned with vigour.

Homes became all things to all people all the time

Q: We saw some specific home sale trends in the Fraser Valley due to COVID-19 – can you delve into those more?  

A: There’s no question COVID-19 altered the needs of BC families as homes suddenly became a workplace, a school, an entertainment centre, and a refuge.  We’ve seen a pronounced shift towards demand for larger homes and for those working from home, a commute becomes less relevant.

The extra space afforded by a single-family detached home that fulfills those needs, along with record-low borrowing costs, resulted in the sales numbers we’ve seen. In the Fraser Valley, sales of detached homes almost doubled in December, rose over 40 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 and approached 50 per cent of total sales for the first time since 2017. So, it’s no surprise that prices for detached homes closed the year up with double-digit increases.

Sales of townhouses, a close substitute for single-detached, were up over 30 per cent in 2020, with more modest price gains of around 5 per cent year over year.

  1. And how about apartments? How did Fraser Valley condos fare in a pandemic year?

A: Apartments began the year with challenges due to strata insurance, and as an investment vehicle or entry-level home for first-time buyers, apartments were clearly held back by the pandemic’s impact on younger workers and renters. Still, even with those challenges, apartment sales across the Fraser Valley finished the year higher and prices appreciated close to 5 per cent.

In terms of the condo sector as a whole, as vaccinations progress, the economy heals, and borders open to tourism and immigration, we anticipate demand for apartments will post a strong recovery in 2021.

Thank you, Brendon! That wraps up the first part of our two-part series on Fraser Valley’s real estate market in 2020 and 2021. Don’t miss part two next week, when Brendon Ogmundson, Senior Economist, BCREA, forecasts what’s in store for hopefully a pandemic-recovery year.

For more market intel, head to www.bcrea.bc.ca and keep tabs on their COVID-19 Reopening Dashboard.

Source: FVREB Communications

 


JUST LISTED – BEAUTIFULLY RENOVATED – 1 BED AND LARGE DEN –

 

BLACKBERRY LANE 3 – Here is your chance to own this stunning, substantially renovated, 1 bed + BONUS LARGE DEN (Could be a second bedroom), in a very quiet building! The kitchen features SS appliances, including Samsung convection oven, refinished cabinets, quartz counters, under cabinet lighting & opens to the dining/living area. Cozy up in front of the gas fireplace with stone surround or enjoy your coffee on the oversized west facing covered deck!  The large master has a walk-in closet with custom organizers and updated spacious ensuite with quartz counters. Other upgrades include new doors, laminate floor, fresh paint throughout & custom organizers in the den as well! Across from Linwood park, off leash dog park + Tons of extra parking on the street. BONUS, Newer Roof, Decks & Boiler!

 


CHECK OUT THE NOVEMBER SNAPSTATS FOR THE FRASER VALLEY

November was another record breaking month for sales in the Fraser Valley it is still a SELLERS MARKET. Many homes are selling for over list price and in multiple offers.

Check out the SnapStats video for details.

 

Call Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 or email info@garryvoigt.com for more information on the current market.

 

 


JUST LISTED – MICHAUD GARDENS – 2 BED – 2 BATH CONDO – OVER 1100 SQ FT – LANGLEY

 

MICHAUD GARDENS, This, large 2 bed, 2 bath condo is one level up from the ground floor & has one of the best layouts in the building with bedrooms at opposite ends for privacy. Laminate flooring flows through the open concept dining and living room with cozy fireplace. Every window looks out onto an east facing deck that overlooks private greenspace. Bright, white, eat in kitchen has a pantry & plenty of cabinet & counter space. Large master, big enough for a king, walkthrough his & hers closets lead to ensuite with soaker tub + 2nd bed has adjacent bathroom. Bonus Laundry room with tons of extra storage space. Beautiful grounds with pond/water fountain + full amenity room. Steps to Linwood Park & just blocks from shopping. 1 parking space & ample street parking. Well maintained 19+ building.

For more information, contact Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 – info@garryvoigt.com

 

 


JUST LISTED -1 BED AND DEN – 2 BATH CONDO – CENTRAL LANGLEY

Welcome to Station 54! This 2 bath & 1 bed + den (Being used as a second bedroom) is very centrally located in Langley, with shopping and restaurants right across the street! This unit faces east with an abundance of trees for privacy. Nice light, bright and open floor plan. Kitchen has newer stainless steel stove and fridge plus an eat up island that opens up to the generous sized dining and living room, perfect for entertaining! East facing balcony directly off of the living room, perfect for morning coffee. The master bedroom is a great size with his and hers closets leading to the ensuite. BONUS 2 piece powder room off the entrance for company! Walk to everything Langley has to offer, parks, shopping and recreation! OFFERED AT $329,800

For More information call Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 or email info@garryvoigt.com

 


JUST LISTED – ABSOLUTELY IMMACULATE – 2 BED – 2 BATH – TOP FLOOR – CORNER CONDO – OVER 1100 SQ – LANGLEY CITYFT

TOP FLOOR CORNER PENTHOUSE , Gibbons Layne! Meticulously clean, like new condition, this gorgeous unit has a wide OPEN, BRIGHT floor plan, 9ft ceilings & tons of windows for natural light. HUGE 1,152 sq/ft condo has two good size beds on opposite sides for privacy, open kitchen with tons of storage, newer SS appliances, shaker cabinets, eat up island, dining area big enough for 8 people. BBQ on the N/W facing wrap around deck with nice afternoon/evening sun. HUGE living room for entertaining, crown moulding, updated LED lights. Master easily fits a king with spa like ensuite, heated floors, soaker tub & separate shower! Laundry room with storage + a storage locker & 2 PARKING! Central location in Langley city close to shopping, transit, restaurants, parks & walk to Nicomekl Elementary!

For more information call or email Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 or info@garryvoigt.com


CHECK OUT THE LATEST SNAPSTATS VIDEO FOR THE FRASER VALLEY

Check out the latest SnapStats for the Fraser Valley. After the affects of the Covid19 pandemic bought things to a halt in March and April, we started to slowly see a recover through May with a huge surge of market activity in June! Sales in June 2020 were up 115% over May 2020. The latest SnapStats indicate that we are in a sellers market** and we are once again seeing multiple offers and listings being sold within days of hitting the market.

For more information on the current Real Estate market, call or email Garry Voigt 604 789 2140 or info@garryvoigt.com.

**The accuracy and completeness of the information is not guaranteed. In providing this information SnapStats® or Garry Voigt do not assume any responsibility or liability. More info at snap-stats.com .

 


JUST LISTED – 1 BED – 1 BATH CONDO – CENTRAL SURREY LOCATION

311 13344 102a Street. Location Location Location! Welcome to The Village in Central Surrey – NO CAR NEEDED! This 1 bed, 1 bath condo is about as central as you can get but on a peaceful street! Walking distance to the beautiful Holland Park, one block from S.F.U, walk to Surrey Central Mall, Surrey Rec Centre and Sky Train, bus loop and big box stores. Nice open plan living and dining room with newer laminate flooring has large windows with sliding doors onto the good size patio. Kitchen has serving hatch allowing in more natural light and a good amount of counter space. Good size bedroom plenty big enough for a queen bed. Not only is the location great but rentals are allowed, making this condo an amazing investment opportunity or perfect for your first time buyers. Don’t wait on this one!


MORE THAN 10,000 PEOPLE SIGN A PETITION TO KEEP LANGLEY’S DRIVE IN THEATRE OPEN

More than 10,500 people have now signed an online petition asking the health authority to allow the Langley drive-in theatre to continue after it had it’s allowable capacity cut from 200 to only 50 vehicles.

CLICK HERE to sign the online petition.

There is some confusion as to whether the movie theatre is designated as a ‘drive in event’ (which has a maximum capacity of 50 vehicles) or a ‘drive in theatre’. The theatre previously hosted 200 vehicles with a distance of 20 feet apart. The health authority are also claiming that the theatre’s take out food license is not valid even though it was used all through phase 1 of the pandemic.

To read more, check out the article in the LANGLEY TIMES

 


Check out the March 2020 SnapStats for the Fraser Valley.

The typical ‘Spring Market’ made a great start in March but the need for social distancing meant we had to make some big changes on how we do business and that was bound to have an impact on sales. Take a look at the SnapStats Video for the Fraser Valley – March 2020.

For more information on how we have adapted our business and the current market, call or email Garry Voigt – 604 789 2140, info@garryvoigt.com.